Two years on, the Muzzafar Nagar rape victims are still struggling to get justice. While some have given up hope, others are fighting a lonely battle for closure.
The victims were raped during the one of the worst communal riots in Uttar Pradesh. Of the six cases of rape registered in the district, the trial is underway in five.
The Muzaffarnagar of UP often burns under communal violence. The state also reeled under communal clashes in 2012, accounting for every third death in the country in such violence.
According to a Union home ministry report, 104 cases of communal tension and violence were reported in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 in which 34 people were killed and 456 injured.
The victims are scared to talk about the rape accused. They say life has become “a living hell” for the women’s children.
The men who sexually assaulted the women aged 19 and 30 are free on bail. “They gang-raped my daughters in front of my eyes and police did nothing. Now they are “building pressure on us to settle the matter out of court”, the fathers-in-law of one of the victim said.
Another victim a resident of Loi village says: “They have ruined my life.” Her husband says, “We don’t even have money to buy medicines for our children when they fall ill. How can one expect us to continue fighting the case for so long?”
Vrinda Grover, a senior lawyer of the Supreme Court who is fighting two of the cases, believes the accused are deliberately trying to delay court proceedings so that they can buy time to convince the victims and their families to withdraw cases.
The court should be strict towards the accused to avoid further delay in giving justice to these women, she says.
According to local lawyer Sajeed, after receiving threats from the family of the accused, two victims are turning hostile and refused to identify the alleged rapists in court, he says.
“Some victims may have backed out due to social stigma or pressure from the family of the accused. However, the accused will not escape easily as the case also depends on the statement of eyewitnesses and doctors,” says Sajeed.
According to Sajeed, 16 of the 22 people arrested on rape charges are currently free on bail.
‘Courtesy’: Hindustan times